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Leilani Cartagena
English 100-15
Brian Ganter

The Never-ending Battle Between Books and Technology


Introduction

‍In recent years, electronic components of learning have become more prevalent than ever, and it’s affecting the learning process of many. This is because of high distraction levels associated with technology usage when it comes to establishing knowledge.‍Taking knowledge and applying it to “real-life” situations are what help me get the most out of information fed to me on a day-to-day basis.‍ ‍Almost constantly, my senses are being stimulated so intensely and rapidly by technological devices, that it narrows my reliable study/reading locations to be the local library or even my bedroom desk. Nevertheless, I am sure that there are others with this same recurring problem and a lot of it does tend to lead down to technology and its impact on what a distraction it could be. From the television in the living room, the laptop beside you, to the stereo with your favourite mix tape in, it’s hard to keep concentration levels at a high peak anymore. Our education is becoming overwhelmingly modified to suit everyone’s technological needs, both in classrooms and at home. Ranging from so many different topics, information is virtually easy to access from a wide variation when it comes to the World Wide Web. Despite electronic versions of textbooks, articles, assignments and exams that are being constantly shared amongst peers and professors, “some argue that the hours spent prowling the Internet are the enemy of reading - diminishing literacy, wrecking attention spans and destroying a precious common culture that exists only through the reading of books” (Mokoto, Rich 2). In appreciation to technology, it may be quite simpler to research, discuss and think about any subject, but much harder to focus on one specific topic. “People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time, a group of Stanford researchers has found” (Stanford Report, August 2009). With innovators quickly making new devices constantly, it’s hard to know when the issue of multitasking with gadgets and distraction stop becoming a “hand-in-hand” connection. We, as a part of society, have so much abundance in on-line resources, it’s almost replacing books entirely and somehow I feel it’ll soon spiral out of control.

The Gaming Aspect Of Technological Advances

One aspect of technology that impacts society a lot nowadays is gaming. The gaming world may have its perks and enjoyment factors, but does it really do more than that? Some argue that it is just a big distraction and cannot provide us with fundamentals to learning that we intend to achieve. Others, on the other hand, cease to agree and say that it helps our problem-solving and critical thinking skills excel. Yes, gaming does give us stimulation to both these things but many suggest there should be a fine line or boundary to where too much gaming doesn’t help. Not so much a big problem in Canada, but in others parts of the world such as China and other parts of Asia, there are regulations applied to stop gaming addictions. There are councillors, educators and systems that implement rules and restrictions to kids about awareness in what too much gaming can do. In July 2011, China created a procedure that made sure overindulgence for Internet games were moderated. They established a program that needs a parent’s consent to enable games. “Only an adult who has obtained a special ID card from the Ministry of Public Security, bearing both his name and ID numbers specific to him, will be given unhindered access to online games (China Daily, 1). It’s a scary thought to know that something we have supposedly have control over can spiral out and influence our lifestyle more than we expected.

The Up-And-Down Sides To Technology

With new technological innovations coming into the picture, it’s hard to tell how the future will unfold for new generations. We already have tablets replacing textbooks, e-books replacing novels and laptops as organizers, instruments and so many other utilities all in one. So far, people are still not content with the devices we have at hand and feel the need to invent even more. It’s justifiable to say that one may someway or another, get a mental or even physical diagnosis of on-line addiction. “Internet addiction clinics have sprung up the world in attempt to wean people off their need for a fix. Many people have turned, apparently without irony, to web discussion boards …and to beat the addiction, a self-help group might be a place to start. Maybe replace an online group with a real one”(Smith, The Observer, 2). With all this taken into consideration, and with resources at the tips of our fingers, it’s tough to say how the education system truly benefits from all of this. I mean, many professors tend to agree that the use of electronics in the classroom is just an easy escape route from the monotonous information we learn in the classroom and may include a bit more interactive approach. However, the images and sounds we hear and see on the Internet are colourful, vivid and memorable and that’s probably a factor in why we are so true to the on-line community. There’s not much we could do now, the fact that there’s at least 360 million users of the Internet or with some type of on-line connection. Sooner or later, we won’t need to go to classrooms and instead of hanging out with friends, we’ll be “Skyping” each other to do activities. Of course, that’s a little overdramatic but with how things progress right now in the technological world, it’s not too unlikely and I wouldn’t be surprised if anything like that did happen anytime soon.

Devices: Extension Tools For The Brain

Although, technology is at its highest peaks of production right now and the demand for them never seem to stop, it’s hard to completely know how effective it is. After all, “devices have become even more relevant and dynamic as Web tools and social networking application have evolved into more sophisticated products that are designed to interact with mobile devices. Attention should first be paid, however to traditional learning theories and how mobile technologies can fit into them” (Fuegen, 50). We could get all technical and scientific when it comes to connections between technology and education but really it all leads down to how the people surrounding the issue feel. Students, professors and teachers, administrators and even parents are affected by the device “epidemic” that seems to be targeting schools and institutes all over the world. What burdens most is the fact that there are many limitations to as how learning would be established. Screen sizes, battery life, software malfunctions, network speeds and security are just some of the few things on the list of concerns for something that is soon to be adapted by the educational environment. Convenience and flexibility is what make this matter a popular one and over time, the fan base gets bigger and bigger. Many studies with CSCL show the benefits and problems with what people face on daily terms when it comes to education with no direct contact or discussions with others. Unfortunately, as a downfall, students often “sometimes perceive their discussions as more confusing, less productive and needing more time to reach consensus and make decisions than students working face-to-face” (Mostmans 105-106). Issues like these only raise more questions, which raise more answers and debates. The cycle will continue as long as new discoveries arise.

Conclusion

Technology may be taking its toll on education at a worldwide level, and for all I know, people have mainly good intentions about the creation of new devices that get introduced to use every once in a while. Ipads have new versions almost every other year with a better software update, URLs have become the new "go-to" resource for information with a quick type of keywords and e-books are becoming more versatile with wireless browsing and touch-screens. Things like these are extensions of the mind and help create an easier learning experience for most. That’s why we constantly depend on devices that didn’t even exist before. It’s more of the way people tend to use prioritize technology over actual education that concerns many. We may just need to realize how much technology has taken over our lives in the past decade or so. But as long as the on-line world continues to progress and moderation in usage is adequate, the world is at our fingertips and won’t be planning on leaving anytime soon.

Works Cited

Gorlick, Adam. “News.” Media Multitaskers Pay Mental Price, Stanford Study Shows. Stanford Report, 24 August 2009. Web. 20. Nov. 2012.

Fuegen, Shauna’h Y. "The Impact of Mobile Technologies On Distance Education."Academic Search Complete. EBSCO, 2012. Web. 7 Dec. 2012.
<http://0-web.ebscohost.com.library.capilanou.ca/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=3d10df53-6160-4a42-ba16-ada1a66015b9%40sessionmgr111&vid=6&hid=127>.

Littlejohn, Stephen W., and Karen A. Foss. Theories of Human Communication. 10th ed. Belmon, CA: Wadsworth Pub., 2011. Print.

Mostmans, Lien, Chris Vleugels, and Stijn Bannier. "Raise Your Hands or Hands-on? The Role of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning in Stimulating Intercreativity in
Education." Academic Search Complete. EBSCO, 2011. Web. 7 Dec. 2012. <http://0-web.ebscohost.com.library.capilanou.ca/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=
3d10df53-6160-4a42-ba16-ada1a66015b9%40sessionmgr111&vid=5&hid=127>.

“Regulation to Fight Gaming Addiction.” - China.org.cn. China Daily, 30 July 2011. Web. 27 Nov. 2012.
<http://www.china.org.cn/china/2011-07/30/content_23104750.htm>.

Rich, Mokoto. “Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?” The New York Times [New York] 27 July 2008: n. pag. Print

Smith, David. “Addiction to Internet is an Illness” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 22 Mar.2008. Web. 27 Nov. 2012.
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/mar/23/news.internet>.